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EXPLANATION   OF   THE   MAPS.                         259
year is of importance, and therefore mapped; whereas in Ben-
gal, many infinitely larger perennial rivers are of no import-
ance, and are omitted: the result is, that the two countries
being brought together on a general map, appear equally well
watered. We have therefore omitted in certain provinces
many of the small rivers which are conspicuous in ordinary
maps.
The relations of the rivers to the mountain-chains appear
to us to be more or less inaccurate on our best maps of India:
thus we find all the rivers on the eastern side of the peninsula
of Hindostan usually represented as cutting through a coast
range of hills called the Eastern Ghats; the rivers of east-
ern Afghanistan and Bcluchistan in like manner seem to cut
through a similar range parallel to the Indus; and, most ex-
traordinary of all, the larger Himalayan rivers are made to
cut through a lofty crest of that range.
The source of these errors may, we think, be traced to the
neglect of a very simple law of perspective; in consequence of
which, masses of mountains, of whatever configuration, resolve
themselves into ranges perpendicular to the line of sight:
thus, the so-called Eastern Ghats are the terminal, spurs of
ranges that branch off from the Peninsular chain, and which,
from their number and tolerably uniform elevation and sur-
face, form what is called the table-land of the Dekhan. The
imaginary Suliman range, skirting the west bank of the In-
dus, is in like manner formed of the terminal spurs of ranges
from a distant axis, which, with the rivers they enclose, de-
scend at right angles to the Indus.
The Himalayan river-system is more complicated, but re-
ducible to the same law. The great snowy peaks, as seen
from the plains of India, are all thrown, by perspective, into
one continuous range, and were hence originally assumed to
indicate the axis of the Himalaya, and laid down as such in
maps: next "came the-information of the natives that all
the larger rivers rise behind the snowy masses; and they
have consequently been represented as cutting through the